Man accused of murdering Leigh widower allegedly told drug dealer he had stabbed someone, court hears

Steven Butterworth

Steven Butterworth

First published in North West
Last updated

A JURY has heard how a man accused of murder allegedly confessed to an acquaintance that he had stabbed someone.

David Dempsey is accused of causing fatal stab wounds to recently widowed Steven Butterworth at his home in Leigh last summer.

A man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told Liverpool Crown Court on Monday that he knew Dempsey as a drugs customer of his.

He said the had known Dempsey by the nickname Clarky for about four or five months by August last year and would meet him in Leigh to sell him drugs.

One day that month he saw him approaching while he was near the Patak's factory and noticed he was very pale and sweaty.

"I sold him drugs, heroin and crack," he said.

"He said he had stabbed someone. I didn't believe him at first. A lot of people say a lot of things and it goes in one ear and out the other. But then I thought how he had approached me looking pale and sweaty. He didn't tell me who he had stabbed.”

Questioned by Nigel Power, prosecuting, the man, who gave evidence from the witness box behind a curtain, said Dempsey had been wearing a grey t-shirt and grey track suit bottoms.

"He took them off and he wrapped them up with his hands and stuck them in a bush," he said.

Cross-examined by Ben Myers, defending, the witness said he told police about what had happened because ‘I found it hard to deal with. I knew someone has died and I knew who has done it’.

He admitted that he has convictions for offences and said they did not trouble his conscience but knowing about the stabbing did so.

Dempsey, aged 42, of Kermishaw Nook, Astley, has pleaded not guilty to murder.

The jury has heard that Mr Butterworth, aged 62, was stabbed at his home in Diamond Street on August 25 last year and died in hospital from his injuries just over one month later on September 27.

Mr Power alleged that Dempsey paid for the drugs from the witness with the proceeds of robbery at the victim's home and during that robbery he stabbed him.

Mr Butterworth told paramedics, who found he had stab wounds to his chest and back, that someone had pushed their way into the house and stabbed him after stealing his wallet – which contained £400 in cash, his cards and driving licence – but that he did not want to make a statement.

He told his niece in hospital that he had been stabbed by the man who had come round earlier and tried to sell him a gold watch.

The trial continues.

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